Factfile 7: Reed Beds and Swamps

1. Reed swamps

Reed swamp on cutover bogSwamps are commonly found around lakes, on slow flowing river banks and estuaries.

They are usually species-poor stands of vegetation that are dominated by Reeds and other large grasses or large, tussock-forming Sedges. Most reed and large sedge swamps are overwhelmingly dominated by one or a small number of species, as in the case of reed beds. Stands of vegetation can range from very dense to open.

Unlike tall-herb swamps below, in reed and large sedge swamp the broad-leaved herb component is a minor element in the vegetation.

Swamps support a number of EU protected species including Otter, Sedge Warbler, Water Rail, Moorhen and other water fowl.

The principal threats to this habitat include nutrient enrichment and damage arising from agricultural practices (overgrazing, mowing and drainage), human developments around lakes and utilization of lakes for increased sport and leisure activities.

2. Tall Herb Swamp

Tall herb swampAnnex 1 habitat (6430) under the EU Habitats Directive.

Tall-herb swamps are comparatively species-rich stands of vegetation dominated by herbs that occur in wet areas where the water table is above the ground surface for most of the year, or where water levels fluctuate regularly as in the case of tidal sections of rivers. Tall herb swamps are not dominated by reeds.

Swamps support a number of EU protected species including Otter, Reed Warbler, Water Rail, Moorhen and other water fowl.

The principal threats to this habitat include nutrient enrichment and damage arising from agricultural practices (overgrazing, mowing and drainage), human developments around lakes and utilization of lakes for increased sport and leisure activities.

For further information on these and other Irish wetland habitats, including the species that occur on them etc. the reader is directed toаFossitt, J. (2000)аA Guide to Habitats in Irelandаpublished byаThe Heritage Council, Ireland (You can download the Heritage Councils habitat keyаhere).

ай Website design Peter Foss 2012